Minister Grapperhaus presents long-term plan for police investments
'Reinforcing and renewing the police force on the beat and online'
Better detection, improved ICT support, and more digital experts, data analysts, financial detectives and officers on the beat: these key aims of the increase in police investments over the next few years were announced by Minister Grapperhaus (Justice and Security).
In consultation with the police force management team, mayors representing the regions and the Public Prosecution Service, the minister has elaborated the investment plans in the coalition agreement into specific proposals. Today, the cabinet approved the long-term plan. The government will make a structural additional investment in the police force to the tune of €291 million.
These investment plans are a combination of innovation, renewal and reinforcement of the police force on the one hand and a modernisation of its ICT infrastructure on the other. An additional €64 million will be made available each year for ICT applications and investigation techniques in order to step up the fight against digital crime and allow officers to tackle big data more effectively.
In addition, the police force will recruit and train 17,000 new officers over the next few years. Aside from serving to replace retiring staff, this measure will provide a structural personnel boost of 1,100 officers. 'This vast undertaking will place significant demands on the organisation and its staff. There will be a genuine push to recruit new officers over the next few years,' Grapperhaus stressed. The structural reinforcements will consist of 770 officers and detectives on the beat, 170 detectives for the national effort to combat serious crime, and 170 specialists with regard to cybercrime and international cooperation.
Grapperhaus: 'We are now in a position again to make the necessary investments. Subversive organised crime and digital crime pose new challenges to the police force. For this reason, we are concentrating all of our efforts on reinforcing and modernising the police force, with a primary focus on detection and more officers on the beat. The objective is to arrive at a versatile police force that is better equipped to handle the security threats of our time. In addition, it should be vigilant and effective both on the beat and online.'
The minister is keenly aware that the need to replace an entire generation of police officers on the verge of retirement presents an additional burden on top of day-to-day policing. New officers require training. For this reason, the Police Academy will be expanded and the police force will take additional measures to distribute new recruits across the units as effectively as possible. 'We understand of course that this measure will not silence the call for additional officers and that some had been hoping for greater numbers. However, we are convinced that these steps will result in a sustainable reinforcement of the police force in the years to come.'
Government response to the Police Act 2012 Evaluation Committee
Also today, the minister forwarded the government's response to the evaluation of the Police Act to the House of Representatives. Grapperhaus has adopted the main conclusion of the Kuijken commission: 'The police system requires additional development and improvement, but we will not be introducing any major new changes.' The minister proposes to work with the Chief Officer, the Public Prosecution Service and the mayors to make the organisation more flexible. This process will enable the more rapid deployment of officers and resources to locations where they are needed. Making the police force more flexible is one of the conditions in the coalition agreement.